Americans Believe Driver’s Ed Isn’t Good Enough

The quality and accessibility of driver education is declining, with Americans seeking a more modern and comprehensive approach to learning how to drive, according to a new survey conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of Volvo Cars.

To better understand the effectiveness of today’s driver’s ed programs, Volvo set out to explore how Americans of all ages learned to drive, what information was available and retained, and what they think needs to be changed or updated in the process. The full results are published in Volvo Reports: The State of Driver Education, the latest in a series of Volvo Reports from Volvo Car USA and The Harris Poll, that explores the ever-changing relationship between Americans and their car.

While dodging traffic cones in an empty parking lot was once a hallmark of the American high school experience, access to public driver’s education is dwindling and many are questioning the quality of the material. While 95% of students had access to public driver’s ed in the 1970s1, only 10 states in the US have dedicated public education programs today, despite an overwhelming number of Americans (9 in 10) supporting its inclusion.

Americans Believe the Driver’s Test is Antiquated
  • More than half (52%) of Americans feel that driver’s education is outdated.
  • Three in five drivers agree that today’s driver’s test is designed to be passed, as opposed to truly testing one’s driving skills (60%).
  • 1 in 3 licensed drivers spent less than 20 hours behind the wheel prior to taking their driving test (28%).
  • 41% of licensed drivers urge states to mandate a minimum of 50+ hours behind the wheel.
    • While requirements vary at the state level, they mandate an average of 46 hours behind the wheel, but 16 states require 40 hours or less.
  • With a reduction in public driver’s education programs, parents are taking on a bigger role in the process, as most drivers cite their parents as their most influential driving teacher – twice as many as those who named an instructor.
This report, Volvo Reports: The State of Driver Education, is the latest in a series of Volvo Reports from Volvo Car USA and The Harris Poll designed to uncover insights into the American opinion across four core themes: design, safety, technology and environment.

MethodologyThis survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of Volvo from May 21-29, 2019, among 2,000 licensed adults ages 18 and older. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

About Volvo Car USA
Volvo Car USA, LLC, ( is a subsidiary of Volvo Car Group of Gothenburg, Sweden. VCUSA provides marketing, sales, parts, service, technology and training support to Volvo automobile retailers in the United States. For more information please refer to the VCUSA media website at:

1 - According to the American Driver and Traffic Safety Education Association (ADTSEA) 


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